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crying game

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Brainy had to be perfect. Xe had to be liked. Xe wished xe knew what to do to be liked. Why was it that other smurfs could do whatever they wanted, but when Brainy did it, they got upset at xem? All xe wanted to do was help. You need to be a little nicer, was the advice xe got when xe asked Papa. But Brainy was very nice! Xe didn't see why xe was expected to be nicer than the rest of the smurfs were, better than was normal. Sure, xe was superior to them, but that didn't mean xe had to be held to higher standards. Being overly polite didn't get you anywhere but down on the ground with your feelings ignored and destroyed, Brainy knew that from experience. And if xe’d really been doing anything wrong, Papa would certainly have corrected xem by now.

Brainy also knew xe was superior to the other smurfs, because xe knew more than them. The more you knew, the more you mattered. If you didn't know anything, you were worthless. That's why Brainy made sure xe knew everything, and if xe didn't know, xe would learn or lie about knowing. And xe would educate the others, as well, because xe cared about them. If only they would see it.

Sometimes Brainy Smurf didn't feel like xemself anymore. Xyr mind would blank out while xe was writing, and xe'd forget what xe'd been doing. Xyr flawless memory left xem as xe forgot important dates, quotes of xyrs xe'd memorized, how many books xe'd written in each series. Xe'd stare at xyr hands and not recognize them as xyr own, or stare off into space for hours or until someone snapped xem back to reality. Time seemed to just pass xem by, seconds turning to minutes to hours until xe realized xe’d been standing in the same place for half the day and now xyr legs were cramping up. And then there were the night terrors.

Every night, it was a gamble on whether xe had a nice, normal dream, or woke up sweaty, shaking, and scared. And Brainy Smurf had always had rotten luck with gambling. So, whether it centered around xyr family all dying in front of xem, begging xem for help xe couldn't give, and asking xem why xe did this to them; whether it centered around the taste of blood in xyr mouth and too-sharp teeth and claws and fur and the smurf xe loved pleading for xem to stop, stop hurting him, until his voice cut off into a gurgle; whether it centered around the all-too-familiar feeling of being boiled alive, melted down and pressed into a form that wasn't xyrs, screaming for help but xe couldn't move and xyr voice wouldn't raise above a whisper- whatever xe dreamed, it was usually a nightmare. Brainy wished xe could have the old stuffed toy xe'd had as a smurfling, but xe didn't want Papa to yell at xem and hit xem for acting childish.

Brainy rubbed xyr head. Xe had another headache. Probably from the beating xe'd got earlier, xe thought, but xe also knew xe deserved it. It was just how the world worked. Keep to yourself and you'll do fine, but get in the way of other smurfs and you deserved whatever was coming to you. Xe'd learned that long ago.